Matt and I are going to Paris on Sunday for a week. It will be Matt’s first trip to France — and, in fact, his first trip to a country where the main language isn’t English. I was in Paris for three days when I was a teenager, but that was years ago and it’s kind of a blur in my mind. (Here are some photos I took of Jason Bateman in Paris.)
We’ll be landing in Paris Monday morning, and flying back the following Sunday evening. In addition to Paris itself, we also plan to visit Versailles — as well as Disneyland Paris. Matt and I are Disney theme park nuts, so we couldn’t go to Paris without seeing it. Part of me feels like it’s a waste of a day when we could be seeing more world-renowned treasures, but I’m sure it will be fun, and there are some rides and attractions there that the other Disney parks don’t have.
Even though I’m really looking forward to the trip, I’ve been stressing out about it lately. In fact, I’ve been stressed out because I’ve been looking forward to it. I’m worried we won’t have time to see everything I want to see. But I also don’t want to feel rushed. I’ve made a mental list of things I definitely want to do, which should help. (Matt doesn’t really have any must-sees other than Disneyland Paris — he’s cool with whatever.)
I love history, so last week I started reading a book about the history of Paris: Seven Ages of Paris, by Alistair Horne. It’s longer than I’d realized – 422 pages, with smallish print — and I’d been hoping to finish it before we left for our trip, so I could know as much as I could about the history of the various sites before we got there. So I was sort of stressing about that, too.
But yesterday I realized that I’ve been treating our trip to Paris like some sort of exam. I don’t need to know everything about a site before we go there. That’s what guidebooks are for. I can read more about it after. Matt gets stressed out enough about travel; I don’t need to add to it.
So I’m going to try to just chill the hell out about all of this and try to enjoy myself. When you travel, it helps to go with the flow, and to not worry too much if things don’t go according to plan. Part of the point of traveling is having new, unexpected experiences. You can’t plan everything out ahead of time.
And it’s not just a city of the past: it’s a city of the present. People live there. We’ll want to spent time just people-watching, and taking in the atmosphere of the city.
And after all, it’s supposed to be a vacation. So I’m going to try to just enjoy what happens.